Visitors will be able to step back in time when the Canal & River Trust’s Ellesmere canal repair yard in Shropshire is opened to the public as part of the annual Ellesmere Festival and national Heritage Open Days.
The event offers the opportunity for people to see behind the scenes of historic buildings that are not normally open to the public.
The Ellesmere Yard on the Llangollen Canal is located on Birch Road on the edge of the town of Ellesmere and is a well preserved example of a canal maintenance yard dating back to the early 1800s.
The yard will be open to the public on Saturday September 12 from 10.00am to 3.00pm and on Sunday September 13 from 11.00am to 3.00pm and will be of interest to canal enthusiasts and families alike with a wide range of activities on offer.
Visitors will be able to see inside some of the grade II* listed buildings and tours of the site will be available.
Helping to bring the yard alive will be resident blacksmith Rowan Taylor who will be giving demonstrations using traditional techniques and producing bespoke items for sale.
The site has kept its historic links and is still in use today as the operating base for the Canal & River Trust’s team who look after the Llangollen and Montgomery Canals.
The site is open as part of Ellesmere Festival Weekend and a free water taxi will run along the canal from near the Tesco store in Ellesmere to the site. Car parking will also be available in the field next to the yard on Birch Road. The site is walking distance from Ellesmere town centre.
For younger visitors there will be ‘Canal & River Trust Explorers’ activities including the chance to build your own canal!
Visitors will also be able to see Saturn, the restored horse-drawn Shropshire Union fly-boat, which was originally built more than 100 years ago to travel non-stop, day and night, carrying perishable goods along the canal.
Heritage advisor for the Canal & River Trust, Kate Lynch said: “Visitors to the yard will get a real sense of history and we are pleased to be able to offer this opportunity as part of the Heritage Open Days.
“By the 19th century most canal companies had a maintenance yard as the routine upkeep of a canal and its equipment was essential. Today it is an important part of our waterway heritage.
“There will be something for everyone, with younger visitors catered for with craft and other fun activities. Tours of the site will also be available over the weekend.”
Please note: The water taxi to the site is not wheelchair accessible.
The site is at: Ellesmere Yard, Birch Road, Ellesmere, Shropshire SY12 9AA.